An Herbalist's Go-To Anti-Inflammatory Ginger Turmeric Latte
Looking to upgrade your golden latte with even more inflammation-fighting power as we head into cold and flu season? This ginger turmeric latte helps minimize inflammation in the body, plus it tastes delicious and only takes a few minutes to make.
Inflammation is part of the body's innate healing response to injury or infection. At the microscopic level, it's a sign of damage to your cells and DNA. Day in and day out, we can fight chronic inflammation in many ways, including by minimizing our exposure to chemicals, pollutants, or excessive sunlight and helping our bodies prevent free radical damage by eating and drinking antioxidant-rich foods1. Herbs and spices, fruit (especially berries), vegetables, dark chocolate, and nuts all fall under the anti-inflammatory category.
The two stars of this latte—ginger and turmeric—also have powerful inflammation-fighting benefits of their own.
Why turmeric and ginger are an inflammation-fighting duo
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been clinically shown2 to fight inflammation and has a long history of use for joint pain. But even if you don't have a health condition, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties2 can still be beneficial. As an antioxidant, curcumin scavenges different free radicals, including reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, and even slows the production of some types of free radicals. By neutralizing free radicals before they can damage cells or DNA, curcumin minimizes the body's need to fire up its inflammatory response.
Like turmeric, ginger (Zingiber officinale) has been used for millenniums as a tonic to support health. And more recently, scientific studies have confirmed3 that the phytochemicals in ginger—gingerols, shogaols, paradols, and zingerone–have anti-inflammatory properties. These bioactive molecules scavenge free radicals, minimizing the oxidative stress that damages cells and DNA. Because oxidative stress and inflammation can trigger one another4, keeping oxidative stress low keeps the inflammatory cycle in check.
It's all in the numbers
Ginger Turmeric Latte
Makes 2 servings
- 1 cup of your preferred milk
- 1 heaping tsp powdered ginger
- ½ tsp powdered turmeric
- Dash black pepper
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp coconut oil or ghee
- 2 tsp honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
- Put milk and spices into a pot and mix thoroughly. Add the water.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so the milk doesn't burn.
- Turn off the heat and stir in coconut oil or ghee.
- Strain into a cup and add sweetener if desired. Enjoy!
How to make this recipe your own
Many variations on this recipe will deliver the desired herbal benefits. I like to use a combination of milk and water plus additional fat. Some use dairy, while others use plant-based milk, and still others forgo the milk altogether, making the tea with water and then adding coconut oil or ghee. You can also opt to enjoy this as an iced latte if you live in a warmer climate.
Our bodies are constantly working to repair damage to our cells and DNA. Thanks to antioxidant-rich plants like turmeric and ginger, we can lighten the load and, ultimately, protect ourselves against many health concerns. This anti-inflammatory ginger turmeric latte warms your body, tastes delicious, and feels like a treat to drink. Cheers to plant-powered health!
Kami McBride is an experienced herbalist, educator, and author whose well-known book, The Herbal Kitchen, has helped thousands of people unlock the healing potential of their spice cabinets and herb gardens. She developed and taught the herbal curriculum for the Complementary Medicine Department at the University of California School of Nursing, and she founded the Living Awareness Institute in 1994 where she offers online herbalism courses to students of all skill levels. Kami lives in California with her husband and children, and she can often be found concocting seasonal recipes in her kitchen and spending time with her favorite plants outdoors.